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How to speed up obedience to commands?


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#21 bc soul sista

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:37 PM

Cerb "You give them their "environmental" rewards where it's safe and hope the habit carries over to when it's not" Sorry, this isn't good enough for me...I do ALOT of off leash walking in populated parks with huge distractions and I'm not about to let my pups think it's ok to make choices revolving around what they want to do. My dogs safety is the ultimate priority and I train in a way where I know with a %100 certainty they are going to listen, and they've been trained to know when something is asked they need to listen. That's not not to say I don't release them to go sniff/play, etc. But I don't understand a training method that would allow the dog to think it's alright to ignore there handler...

Root Beer said that you should let the dog sniff and do whatever it wants and when it CHOOSES to look at you, reward and release it back to do what it wants...

#22 Root Beer

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:52 PM

My dogs safety is the ultimate priority


My priority is the same.

and I train in a way where I know with a %100 certainty they are going to listen,


I do, as well. They are listening just as much when they release on a release as they do when they recall on a recall.

Do you really never allow your dogs the opportunity to relax, play, and just be dogs? I find that very hard to believe. Obviously, you don't do that in the middle of a training session B) , but there are most certainly times when you do.

Use of environmental rewards is not simply letting the dog run amok doing whatever, whenever. It is training, just like any other training. The only difference is the actual reinforcer that is being used to convey that the dog has done what is desired.

But I don't understand a training method that would allow the dog to think it's alright to ignore there handler...


Then you clearly do not understand the training method that I am describing because there is no part of it that consists of "ignore the handler".

Root Beer said that you should let the dog sniff and do whatever it wants and when it CHOOSES to look at you, reward and release it back to do what it wants...


Yes, after you have released the dog to do so.

You have given the dog permission to sniff, and do whatever (of course, in a place where it is safe to give the dog permission to do so). By enjoying some time to sniff, play, hang out, etc., the dog is actually doing exactly what you have told him or her to do.

Thus, it is an environmental reinforcer. But it is not the dog "ignoring" the handler. Permission has been given for some time "at ease", if you will.

I realize you haven't used this particular way of training. All I can tell you is I have been extremely happy with my dog's response to cues through learning with this approach. For some people it is something that has to be done to be understood.

Kristine
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#23 bc soul sista

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 02:13 PM

This is what you originally wrote for Cerb to do...

"Example. Put him on leash and take him to an area that's distracting. Let him check it out and be a dog. After he's had a chance to do that, call his name, and stand and wait. When he looks toward you, you could use food to reward, but then immediately release him back to what he was doing. So the bigger reward was being sent back to do his thing."

So to teach the recall using environmental distractions you take the dog on leash to what it wants to sniff or do...let him do it, call his name(i'm assuming probably more tha once if it's a REALLY appealing thing)...and WAIT for the dog to look at you. This is coming directly from what you said above...you're not waiting for the dog to respond to you when you RELEASE the dog.

I understand the concept of allowing what the dog desires to look at or do to BE the reward for coming...when training a young dog for stock I call him off repeatedly and then we go BACK to work, so he doesn't think that coming to me ends his fun....BUT the difference is that when I do call him, they better come immediatly. I'm not going to wait until they are done sniffing or doing whatever they want to do and take there sweet time deciding to listen, that's a dangerous idea for a dog to get in his head in my opinion.....for safety reasons.

And in my previous post I did say I absolutely let my dogs "be dogs" and sniff/play, etc upon a release command(I often well recall them, reward and release again to play so they know coming is not the end of a fun activity), but when training ESPECIALLY for a recall I would never let my dog think it's ok to choose to do something "self gratifying" and listen when they are done.

#24 bc soul sista

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 02:13 PM

What do you do if the dog DOESN'T come or takes forever to look at you?? Or takes off after something??

#25 Root Beer

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:10 PM

This is what you originally wrote for Cerb to do...

"Example. Put him on leash and take him to an area that's distracting. Let him check it out and be a dog. After he's had a chance to do that, call his name, and stand and wait. When he looks toward you, you could use food to reward, but then immediately release him back to what he was doing. So the bigger reward was being sent back to do his thing."


Yes, you release the dog after he responds correctly to the recall cue as part of the reinforcer.

So to teach the recall using environmental distractions you take the dog on leash to what it wants to sniff or do...let him do it


Yes. When first starting to train this, let him check out the environment a bit before beginning. Let him acclimate to his surroundings a little. When he knows the structure one way to up the criteria is to drop this step, but at the beginning, I absolutely give the dog a chance to see, hear, and smell where he is at first.

The dog is on leash, the area should be safe. And certainly - although I did not say this directly - you should release the dog to check things out.

call his name(i'm assuming probably more tha once if it's a REALLY appealing thing)...


Nope. One time. And I would most likely start in an area that is not so appealing that the dog is going to be terribly engrossed. So, an open grassy area would be a better place to start than an area littered with horse manure.

I would never start this with the criteria too high for the dog to succeed. Those kinds of challenges (calling off horse manure) would come later. And, of course, releasing to horse manure would never be an environmental reinforcer that I would choose to use since I don't want the dog eating the stuff. And yet, use of environmental reinforcers could, indeed, cultivate that good of a recall.

and WAIT for the dog to look at you. This is coming directly from what you said above...you're not waiting for the dog to respond to you when you RELEASE the dog.


Yes. I have released the dog. He is free to "be a dog" until he is good and ready to work with me again. A radical idea, I know. But when I give that particular release (which is different from my working release that I would use when releasing from a start line, for instance), I am not lying to the dog. I mean it. The dog has permission to enjoy the environmental reinforcer to his hearts content. When he's done we start working again. (If there were some highly unusual reason to break off training and call the dog immediately, of course I would do that, but that would be out of the ordinary).

That is actually the reason I start this on leash. The dog has a 12 foot area in a circle around me to explore. I can stand still and the dog will have that small area explored pretty quickly, even at first. The more one does this, the shorter that period becomes, and I usually progress to off leash very quickly. I don't do that until I know the dog isn't going to take too long enjoying the environmental reinforcer.

I understand the concept of allowing what the dog desires to look at or do to BE the reward for coming...when training a young dog for stock I call him off repeatedly and then we go BACK to work, so he doesn't think that coming to me ends his fun....BUT the difference is that when I do call him, they better come immediatly.


That is why a recall is not used in the midst of the environmental reinforcer. Yes, if you call the dog, the dog should come, but that is not going to maximize the potential value of the reinforcer. Just to be clear - I am not talking about sheep here. You brought that up, and lest anyone get squiffy, I am talking specifically about the kind of training that Lewis Moon is referring to with Cerb. I would not use a release to sheep as an environmental reinforcer for responding quickly to a recall (or other cue) because that is not something that I am going to allow my dog to enjoy on his terms for the safety of the sheep. I don't give dirt and grass the same consideration.

I'm not going to wait until they are done sniffing or doing whatever they want to do and take there sweet time deciding to listen, that's a dangerous idea for a dog to get in his head in my opinion.....for safety reasons.


You are still missing the fact that the dog is listening. The dog has been released.

And in my previous post I did say I absolutely let my dogs "be dogs" and sniff/play, etc upon a release command(I often well recall them, reward and release again to play so they know coming is not the end of a fun activity), but when training ESPECIALLY for a recall I would never let my dog think it's ok to choose to do something "self gratifying" and listen when they are done.


That's one of my favorite things about this way of training. I don't have to worry about those dreaded "self rewarding" behaviors anymore. That is an annoying concept that I am very happy to be rid of.

When the handler has given the dog permission to sniff/play, etc., the dog is not "self gratifying". The dog is doing what he or she has been given permission to do by the handler not by his or herself.

The difference is that I am using that as a reinforcer that is worth its weight in gold for the dog doing precisely what I have cued the dog to do.

So, let's look at this in "real time".

I take Dean to the park and I release him to check things out. He sniffs, he checks out the environment, and he enjoys the place a bit. To make it simple lets say he's on leash already (in reality now, he would not be unless leashes were required, but let's keep it simple). Now he's acclimated and ready to work, so we get to training. I call him, he comes. I might click/treat, or I might throw a ball, or whatever. But now I say, "go" and he has my permission to "be a dog" again.

Note two things that happened here:

1. He came when I called him.

2. I released him to the environment again. (Again, let me emphasize, he is on leash, this is a safe area, the only thing that might get hurt are a few blades of grass he might step on)

He's done now with his environmental reinforcer and he checks in with me. Now I will break focus again (because it's not a recall if he's standing there looking at me) and call his name. He comes. I reinforce again in the traditional way and then give my "go" and he has permission to "go be a dog" again.

As he gets better with this, I will change it up by working someplace we can work off leash. Or by working someplace he finds more compelling. Etc.

I've done this and what I've gotten are very good and strong responses to the cues that we've trained.

I realize that you consider it dangerous, but that hasn't been my experience. It was far more dangerous when I trained in the more traditional way of trying to control everything at all times. Through use of environmental reinforcers, I have gotten better results. Faster recalls, better focus, and more reliable responses in new and different situations.

My dogs play off leash on the beach and I trust them. They walk in the woods off leash and they come when they are called. They comply at the vet with whatever they are asked to do.

I get the impression that you are envisioning this as something willy nilly and unreliable, but that has not been my experience at all. It has been like training gold, and it has made training more enjoyable for me and for my dogs, while producing better results.

Kristine
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#26 Root Beer

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:13 PM

What do you do if the dog DOESN'T come or takes forever to look at you??


I would lower the criteria until the dog had the idea and was ready to work in that particular location.

Or takes off after something??


That would be difficult for the dog to do on leash.

By the time I would work with the dog off leash in an open, unfenced area, I would have both a reliable recall (if I should need it) and the dog would know the structure well enough that he or she would be highly unlikely to do that. But if he or she did, I would use the recall.

Kristine
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#27 rushdoggie

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:34 PM

FYI: I have used the method that Root Beer outlines (part of the Give Me a Break game in the CU book) with my dog and several others and it works very, very well. It has allowed my completely over-the-top squirrel obsessed dog to learn to focus and work agility sequences in my squirrel infested backyard and sharpened up his reaction time to recalls from the yard.

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#28 Lewis Moon

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:58 PM

I'm beginning to realize this may be more my problem than Cerb's. Thinking about dangerous occurances in the past, each time Cerb has snapped right to. Last spring Cerb was trotting ahead on the trail and walked right up to sniff a three foot rattlesnake. He must have heard the stress in my voice because he was immediately back at heel. This has happpened other times too. I think I'm often too casual, or afraid of being dubbed the "guy who yells at his dog", and I tone things down too much.

#29 alligande

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 11:17 PM

FYI: I have used the method that Root Beer outlines (part of the Give Me a Break game in the CU book) with my dog and several others and it works very, very well. It has allowed my completely over-the-top squirrel obsessed dog to learn to focus and work agility sequences in my squirrel infested backyard and sharpened up his reaction time to recalls from the yard.

I also used a similar idea to teach my young dog his recall, I did mix cookies in then there as well. We started the game in the yard, I would use his name and ran away, and he would always chase me, gradually building this up to parks, fields woods etc, where I never needed to head in the other direction. He is 2 1/2 and has the most amazing recall I have had on a dog. I also put the rider, I raised him to be my agility partner so he is very focused on me in general. I have though started my fosters on the same program for recall and they all left with the beginnings of good recall.

Even during the beginning stages there would be times he would not be released and a leash would go on, or we go back in the house, just like not rewarding with a cookie every time it is not going to hurt the end result.

#30 G. Festerling

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 08:43 AM

I would like to add to the somewhat initial mention of the difference of "formal" training vs. what I used to call utility training. My utility training had nada to do with any title! It simply meant that around the ranch you did come at an appropriate speed, you did leave the animals alone, you did sit and walk on lead. Very simple but non negotiable.
About 8 years ago I got into protection sports. As most things for me not to go overboard or even trial but for fun as I had the right dog. Most important there is obedience. I however hated the super stylized ob which is almost painful for me to watch. As is AKC ob. On the other hand as a trainer, I can appreciate the hard work, focus and total devotion that goes into that type training. But it is not really me.
Be that as it may, I ended up with a very high drive, intense and somewhat nervy (as in action first then think later!) dog who is without a doubt one of my most favorite dogs but was also a major challenge due to her reactivity. She was of course thrown right into formal positive ob training.
The difference in this dog to my previous, even to just live with, is amazing. How much of it is just her and her innate desire to work and how much her very consistent training with a very distinct goal? No way to know.
But add my recent ability to attend structured agility lessons in the past years (not currently) and for the first time to work with a consistent instructor on stock rather than just winging it, I can not help but notice the difference in just overall life with my guys.
My previous dogs where very nice. But this is different. And frankly, I think almost 80% of it is me and my handling. Anything from clarity, understanding, consistency and of course the ability to work different sports, breeds and mostly methods has changed my partnership with my guys tremendously.
So long story short - don't knock a bit of formal training for everyday life.
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#31 jester

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:25 PM

I would practice having him sit at random times during the day when he is not in "training mode".

Also, raise the requirements for what counts as a sit. So, for example, if you ask him to sit and it takes longer than 3-5 seconds for his butt to hit the ground, it does not count as a sit. Just say a simple "good boy", call him forward, and have him repeat it until he gets it right. Once he has done a good sit you can treat, praise, play, or whatever you think he would like.

#32 arf2184

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:11 PM

This may not be possible for you, but to get a faster response time I make it a bit of competition between the dogs. The first dog to get to me when I call them gets treated (or a jackpot of treats)...slow poke just gets a pat on the head; first dog to sit gets a treat, slow poke gets a 'good boy/girl' but no food, etc. The second time I call them, you can bet they both come running as fast as possible hoping for that jackpot.

I do this just at random, not in 'formal' training sessions. I would not do this with food aggressive dogs. It does require that (1)you have treats handy and (2)both dogs know what behavior is expected and (3)the slow poke has to witness the speedy dog getting treated and then have an opportunity to be faster the second, third, or fourth time (repetition). Do take into account the dogs capabilities. Bear can't come close to matching Meg's speed, so as long as he doesn't dawdle I reward him anyway.

So if we're on a walk with the dogs off leash or I'm out doing yard work, I'll call them. Reward the fastest to get to me. Then say 15-20 minutes later (when they're back to sniffing and wandering, not staring at me in anticipation) I'll call them again and likely reward both because chances are they both came as fast as they could.

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